PEER Network – Central Asia and Africa Hubs Joint Symposium in Istanbul – Nov 20-25

The Inter-Hub Symposium, a week-long event organised by the Political Economy of Education Research Network (PEER Network), was held in Istanbul, Turkey. This event was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The PEER Network is a Research Consortium led by Prof Mario Novelli from the University of Sussex and Prof Kelsey Shanks from Ulster University. It consists of two regional hubs, namely the Central Asia Hub, led by Prof Naureen Durrani and Dr Hélène Thibault from Nazarbayev University, and the Africa Hub, led by Prof Azeem Badroodien and Dr Yunus Omar from the University of Cape Town. The symposium brought together members and fellows from both the Central Asia and Africa Hubs, as well as researchers from Sussex and Ulster University.

The primary purpose of the symposium was to provide a platform for early career researchers from Central Asia and Africa to present their findings from small-scale projects. They used the analytical lens of the Political Economy of Education to address existing inequalities and injustices among different social and cultural groups. It was truly inspiring to see scholars from diverse regional backgrounds coming together to foster mutual learning and identify shared structural violence in the field of education.

The symposium was a great success, with a perfect balance of PEER Fellow inputs and reflective sessions on various topics such as careers, evaluation, capturing synergies, and final reflections. Participants also had the privilege of immersing themselves in the rich Turkish society, culture, and context, thanks to Birgul Kutan from the University of Sussex. Her care and attention made us feel well looked after throughout the event.

By the end of the week, all participants had formed strong bonds through their shared experiences. It was incredible to see how they not only interacted between hubs but also gained valuable insights from the Turkish context. The event was truly an enriching and collaborative environment that fostered intellectual exchange and a collective commitment to social justice and positive peace.

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